In a legal brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court last week, three of the four Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation joined over 200 federal lawmakers in urging the court to reconsider the constitutional right to an abortion.
The amicus brief, signed by Colorado Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton was filed in support of the Louisiana law that lies at the heart of June v. Gee Medical Services, a critically important abortion-access case that SCOTUS is expected to hear March 4. The law requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, making it extremely difficult for abortion providers to operate in the state of Louisiana. Just one doctor in the state has been able to meet this requirement.
If the court decides to uphold the law, it will be a major blow to the constitutional right to an abortion and a major indicator that the court is willing to buck precedent, like that set in the 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, in which the court struck down a Texas law similar to the Louisiana law in question because it constituted an “undue burden” on the right to an abortion.
But the brief, backed by Buck, Tipton, and Lamborn, goes beyond simply supporting laws that aim to regulate abortion providers out of existence, arguing that the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in 1973, should be “reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled” by SCOTUS.
The brief, organized by the anti-abortion organization Americans United for Life, was signed by 39 senators and 168 House members, 97% of which are men. Two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Daniel Lipinski of Illinois — joined the GOP in signing the document.
Colorado’s Republican Senator Cory Gardner’s name was notably absent from the brief, but progressive activists assert that Gardner’s opposition to abortion is more apparent in actions than in words.
Laura Chapin, a spokeswoman for NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, for example, pointed out via Twitter that Gardner voted to confirm conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who poses an existential threat to abortion rights.
For the past few years, Gardner has attempted to distance himself from his hardline stance in opposition to abortion rights, which formed the foundation of his political career.
For example, Gardner was once a key proponent of Colorado’s personhood initiative, which would have made abortion illegal by giving legal rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses, but he reversed course prior to his first Senate election in 2014. In a Fox31 interview following his flip on the issue, when asked why he was still listed as a cosponsor on a federal personhood bill even after he came out in opposition to personhood, Gardner falsely claimed multiple times that “there is no federal personhood bill.”
Still, Gardner’s anti-abortion stance is clear enough, given that he’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood ten times since he’s held federal office. And, after Alabama lawmakers passed an outright ban on abortion last year, Gardner said it should be “up to the states” to regulate the procedure, apparently supporting the measure.